SIR GEORGE HENRY MARTIN CBE (3 January 1926 – 8 March 2016) was an
English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio
engineer, and musician. He was referred to as the "
Fifth Beatle ",
Paul McCartney , in reference to his extensive
involvement on each of the Beatles ' original albums. Martin produced
30 number-one hit singles in the United Kingdom and 23 number-one hits
in the United States.
Martin produced comedy and novelty records in the early 1950s,
Peter Sellers ,
Spike Milligan , and
Bernard Cribbins ,
among others. His career spanned more than six decades of work in
music, film, television and live performance. He held a number of
senior executive roles at media companies and contributed to a wide
range of charitable causes, including his work for The Prince\'s Trust
Caribbean island of
Montserrat . In recognition of his
services to the music industry and popular culture, he was made a
Knight Bachelor in 1996.
* 1 Early years
* 2.1 As an arranger
* 2.2 Film and composing work
The Beatles Anthology
Cirque du Soleil and Love
* 2.5 Public image
* 3 Other artists
* 4 Associated Independent Recording (AIR)
* 5 Music from the
James Bond series
* 6 Books and audio retrospective
* 7 Television
* 7.1 The Rhythm of Life
Produced by George Martin
* 7.3 Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music
* 8 Death
* 9 Awards and recognition
* 10 Selected non-Beatles hit records produced or co-produced by
* 11 Discography
* 12 Selected discography (as producer)
* 13 Notes
* 14 References
* 15 External links
Martin was born in Highbury, London. When he was six, Martin's family
acquired a piano that sparked his interest in music. At eight years
of age, Martin persuaded his parents, Henry and Betha Beatrice (nėe
Simpson) Martin, that he should take piano lessons, but those ended
after only eight lessons because of a disagreement between his mother
and the teacher.
As a child, he attended several schools, including a "convent school
in Holloway", St Joseph's School (
Highgate ), and at St Ignatius\'
Stamford Hill ), where he had won a scholarship. When WWII
broke out, and St. Ignatius College students were evacuated to Welwyn
Garden City , his family left London, and he was enrolled at Bromley
Grammar School .
I remember well the very first time I heard a symphony orchestra. I
was just in my teens when Sir
Adrian Boult brought the
Orchestra to my school for a public concert. It was absolutely
magical. Hearing such glorious sounds I found it difficult to connect
them with ninety men and women blowing into brass and wooden
instruments or scraping away at strings with horsehair bows.
Despite Martin's continued interest in music, and "fantasies about
being the next
Rachmaninov ", he did not initially choose music as a
career. He worked briefly as a quantity surveyor , and later for the
War Office as a Temporary Clerk (Grade Three), which meant filing
paperwork and making tea.
In 1943, when he was 17, he joined the
Fleet Air Arm of the Royal
Navy and became an aerial observer and a commissioned officer. The war
ended before Martin was involved in any combat, and he left the
service in 1947. Encouraged by Sidney Harrison (a member of the
Committee for the Promotion of New Music ) Martin used his veteran's
grant to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1947 to
1950, where he studied piano and oboe, and was interested in the music
of Rachmaninoff and Ravel , as well as
Cole Porter . Martin's oboe
Margaret Eliot (the mother of
Jane Asher , who would later
become involved with
Paul McCartney ). After that, Martin explained
that he had just picked it up by himself. On 3 January 1948 – while
still at the Academy – Martin married Sheena Chisholm, with whom he
would have two children, Alexis and
Gregory Paul Martin . He later
married Judy Lockhart-Smith on 24 June 1966, and they also had two
children, Lucie and
Giles Martin .
The Beatles' first LP (produced by Martin)
Following his graduation, he worked for the BBC's classical music
department, then joined
EMI in 1950 as an assistant to Oscar Preuss,
the head of EMI's
Parlophone Records from 1950 to 1955. Although
having been regarded by
EMI as a vital German imprint in the past, it
was then not taken seriously and only used for EMI's insignificant
acts. After taking over
Parlophone when Preuss retired in 1955,
Martin recorded classical and
Baroque music, original cast recordings
, and regional music from around Britain and Ireland.
Martin also produced numerous comedy and novelty records. His first
Parlophone was the "Mock Mozart" single by
Peter Ustinov with
Antony Hopkins – a record reluctantly released in 1952 by EMI, only
after Preuss insisted they give his young assistant, Martin, a chance.
Later that decade Martin worked with
Peter Sellers on two very popular
comedy LPs. One was released on 10 format and called The Best Of
Sellers, the second was released in 1957, being called Songs for
Swinging Sellers (a spoof on
Frank Sinatra 's LP Songs for Swingin\'
Lovers! ). As he had worked with Sellers, he also came to know Spike
Milligan , with whom he became a firm friend, and best man at
Milligan's second marriage: "I loved
The Goon Show , and issued an
album of it on my label Parlophone, which is how I got to know Spike."
The album was
Bridge on the River Wye . It was a spoof of the film
The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Bridge on the River Kwai , being based on the 1957 Goon Show
episode "An African Incident." It was intended to have the same name
as the film, but shortly before its release, the film company
threatened legal action if the name was used. Martin edited out the
'K' every time the word Kwai was spoken, with Bridge on the River Wye
being the result. The
River Wye is a river that runs through England
and Wales. The album featured Milligan, Sellers,
Jonathan Miller , and
Peter Cook , playing various characters.
Other comedians Martin worked with included
Bernard Cribbins ,
Charlie Drake ,
Terry Scott ,
Bruce Forsyth ,
Michael Bentine , Dudley
Flanders and Swann ,
Lance Percival ,
Joan Sims ,
Bill Oddie ,
The Alberts . Martin worked with both
Jim Dale and the Vipers
Skiffle Group , with whom he had a number of hits. In early 1962,
under the pseudonym "Ray Cathode," Martin released an early electronic
dance single, "
Time Beat " – recorded at the
Workshop . As Martin wanted to add rock and roll to Parlophone's
repertoire, he struggled to find a "fireproof" hit-making pop artist
As a producer, Martin recorded the two-man show featuring Michael
Donald Swann ,
At the Drop of a Hat , which sold steadily
for twenty-five years, although Martin's breakthrough as a producer
came with the
Beyond the Fringe show cast album, which starred Peter
Dudley Moore ,
Alan Bennett , and
Jonathan Miller , and he
would also produce the accompanying soundtrack album for David Frost
BBC TV show
That Was the Week That Was in 1963. Martin's
work transformed the profile of
Parlophone from a "sad little company"
to a very profitable business.
Martin working with the Beatles in a studio during Beatles for
Sale sessions, 1964
Martin was contacted by Sid Coleman of Ardmore & Beechwood, who told
Brian Epstein , the manager of a band whom he had met. He
thought Martin might be interested in the group, even though they had
been turned down by
Decca Records . Until that time, although he had
had considerable success with the comedy records, and a number 1 hit
Temperance Seven , Martin had only minor success with pop
music, such as "Who Could Be Bluer" by
Jerry Lordan , and singles with
Shane Fenton and
Matt Monro . After the telephone call by Coleman,
Martin arranged a meeting on 13 February 1962 with Brian Epstein.
Martin listened to a tape recorded at Decca, and thought that
Epstein's group was "rather unpromising", but liked the sound of
Lennon's and McCartney's vocals.
After another meeting with Epstein on 9 May at the Abbey Road studios
, Martin was impressed by Epstein's enthusiasm and agreed to sign the
unknown Beatles to a recording contract, without having met them or
seen them play live. The contract was not what it seemed, however, as
Martin would not sign it himself until he had heard an audition, and
later said that
EMI had "nothing to lose," as it offered one penny for
each record sold, which was split among the four members. Martin
EMI (after the release of "
From Me to You ") that the
royalty rate should be doubled without asking for anything in return,
which led to Martin being thought of as a "traitor in EMI".
The Beatles auditioned for Martin on 6 June 1962, in studio three at
the Abbey Road studios. Ron Richards and his engineer Norman Smith
recorded four songs, which Martin (who was not present during the
recording) listened to at the end of the session. The verdict was not
promising, however, as Richards complained about
Pete Best 's
drumming, and Martin thought their original songs were simply not good
enough. Martin asked the individual Beatles if there was anything
they personally did not like, to which
George Harrison replied, "Well,
there's your tie, for a start." That was the turning point, according
to Smith, as
John Lennon and
Paul McCartney joined in with jokes and
comic wordplay, that made Martin think that he should sign them to a
contract for their wit alone.
The Beatles' second recording session with Martin was on 4 September
1962, when they recorded "How Do You Do It ", heavily modified by The
Beatles which Martin thought was a sure-fire hit, even though Lennon
and McCartney did not want to release it, not being one of their own
compositions or style. Martin was correct: Gerry afterwards, the tape
was destroyed, and the 11 September recording with Andy White on drums
was used for all subsequent releases. Martin would later praise
Starr's drumming, calling him "probably ... the finest rock drummer in
the world today". As "Love Me Do" peaked at number 17 in the British
charts, on 26 November 1962 Martin recorded "Please Please Me ", which
he did only after Lennon and McCartney had almost begged him to record
another of their original songs. Martin's crucial contribution to the
song was to tell them to speed up what was initially a slow ballad.
After the recording Martin looked over the mixing desk and said,
"Gentlemen, you have just made your first number one record". Martin
directed Epstein to find a good publisher, as Ardmore "> Abbey Road
Studios , where Martin recorded Parlophone's artists
Martin's more formal musical expertise helped fill the gaps between
the Beatles' unrefined talent and the sound which distinguished them
from other groups, which eventually made them successful. Most of the
Beatles' orchestral arrangements and instrumentation were written or
performed by Martin, as well as frequent keyboard parts on the early
records, in collaboration with the less musically experienced band.
It was Martin's idea to score a string quartet accompaniment for
"Yesterday " against McCartney's initial reluctance. Martin played
the song in the style of Bach to show McCartney the voicings that were
available. Another example is the song "
Penny Lane ", which featured
a piccolo trumpet solo that was requested by McCartney after hearing
the instrument on a
BBC broadcast. McCartney hummed the melody that he
wanted, and Martin notated it for David Mason , the classically
Martin's work as an arranger was used for many Beatles recordings.
Eleanor Rigby ," he scored and conducted a strings-only
accompaniment inspired by
Bernard Herrmann . On a Canadian speaking
tour in 2007, Martin said that his "Eleanor Rigby" score was
influenced by Herrmann's score for the
Alfred Hitchcock thriller
Psycho . For "
Strawberry Fields Forever
Strawberry Fields Forever ", he and recording engineer
Geoff Emerick turned two very different takes into a single master
through careful use of vari-speed and editing. For "I Am the Walrus
", he provided a quirky and original arrangement for brass, violins,
cellos, and the
Mike Sammes Singers vocal ensemble. On "In My Life
", he played a speeded-up baroque piano solo. He worked with
McCartney to implement the orchestral climax in "
A Day in the Life ",
and he and McCartney shared conducting duties the day that it was
Martin contributed integral parts to other songs, including the piano
Lovely Rita ", the harpsichord in "
Fixing a Hole ", the old steam
organ and tape loop arrangement that create the
Pablo Fanque circus
atmosphere that Lennon requested on "Being for the Benefit of Mr.
Kite! " (both Martin and Lennon played steam organ parts for this
song), and the orchestration in "Good Night ". The first song that
Martin did not arrange was "She\'s Leaving Home ", as he had a prior
engagement to produce a
Cilla Black session, so McCartney contacted
Mike Leander to do it. Martin was reportedly hurt by this,
but still produced the recording and conducted the orchestra himself.
Martin was in demand as an independent arranger and producer by the
time of The White Album , so the Beatles were left to produce various
tracks by themselves.
Martin composed and arranged the score for the Beatles' film Yellow
Submarine and the
James Bond film Live and Let Die , for which Paul
McCartney wrote and sang the title song. He helped arrange Paul and
Linda McCartney's American Number 1 single "Uncle Albert/Admiral
Paul McCartney once commended Martin by saying: "
George Martin quite
experimental for who he was, a grown-up."
FILM AND COMPOSING WORK
Beginning in the late 1950s, Martin began to supplement his producer
income by publishing music and having his artists record it. He used
the pseudonyms Lezlo Anales and John Chisholm, before settling on
Graham Fisher as his primary pseudonym.
Martin composed, arranged, and produced film scores since the early
1960s, including the instrumental scores of the films A Hard Day\'s
Night (1964, for which he won an
Academy Award Nomination), Ferry
Cross the Mersey (1965), Yellow Submarine (1968), and Live and Let Die
(1973). Other notable movie scores include
Crooks Anonymous (1962),
The Family Way (1966), Pulp (1972, starring
Michael Caine and Mickey
Rooney ), the
Peter Sellers film
The Optimists of Nine Elms (1973),
John Schlesinger directed
Honky Tonk Freeway (1981).
THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY
Martin oversaw post-production on
The Beatles Anthology (which was
originally entitled The Long and Winding Road) in 1994 and 1995,
working again with
Geoff Emerick . Martin decided to use an old
8-track analogue deck – which
EMI learned an engineer still had –
to mix the songs for the project, instead of a modern digital deck. He
explained this by saying that the old deck created a completely
different sound, which a new deck could not accurately reproduce. He
also said he found the whole project a strange experience (and
McCartney agreed), as they had to listen to themselves chatting in the
studio, 25–30 years previously.
Martin stepped down when it came to producing the two new singles
reuniting McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, who wanted to overdub two
old Lennon demos. Martin had suffered a hearing loss, so he left the
work to writer/producer
Jeff Lynne of the
Electric Light Orchestra .
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL AND LOVE
In 2006, Martin and his son,
Giles Martin , remixed 80 minutes of
Beatles music for the Las Vegas stage performance Love , a joint
Cirque du Soleil and the Beatles'
Apple Corps Ltd. A
soundtrack album from the show was released that same year.
Martin's contribution to the Beatles' work received regular critical
acclaim, and led to him being described as the "Fifth Beatle" (in
Paul McCartney wrote that "If anyone earned the title of the
fifth Beatle it was George" ). However, he distanced himself from
this claim, stating that assistant and roadie
Neil Aspinall would be
more deserving of that title.
In the immediate aftermath of the Beatles' break-up, a time when he
made many angry utterances,
John Lennon trivialised Martin's
importance to the Beatles' music. In his 1970 interview with Jann
Wenner , Lennon said, " another one of those people, who think they
made us. They didn't. I'd like to hear Dick James' music and I'd like
to hear George Martin's music, please, just play me some."
In a 1971 letter to Paul McCartney, Lennon wrote, "When people ask me
questions about 'What did
George Martin really do for you?,' I have
only one answer, 'What does he do now?' I noticed you had no answer
for that! It's not a putdown, it's the truth." Lennon wrote that
Martin took too much credit for the Beatles' music. Commenting
specifically on "
Revolution 9 ", Lennon said with ironic authority,
"For Martin to state that he was 'painting a sound picture' is pure
hallucination. Ask any of the other people involved. The final editing
Yoko and I did alone."
Lennon later retracted many of the comments he made in that era,
attributing them to his anger. He subsequently spoke with great
affection and fondness for Martin. In 1971 he said: "George Martin
made us what we were in the studio. He helped us develop a language to
talk to other musicians."
Alan Parsons , he had "great ears" and "rightfully
earned the title of "Fifth Beatle".
Julian Lennon called Martin "The
Fifth Beatle, without question".
Martin in 2007
Martin produced recordings for many other artists, including
contemporaries of the Beatles, such as
Matt Monro ,
Cilla Black ,
Gerry & The Pacemakers ,
Billy J. Kramer
Billy J. Kramer ">
* In September 2008, he was awarded the
James Joyce Award by the
Literary and Historical Society of
University College Dublin .
* Martin was honoured with a Gold Medal for Services to the Arts
from the CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of
Authors and Composers).
* On 25 May 2010, he was given an honorary membership in the Audio
Engineering Society at the 128th AES Convention in London.
* On 29 June 2011, he was given an honorary degree, Doctor of Music,
from the University of Oxford.
* On 19 October 2012, he won a lifetime award in the 39th Golden
Martin was one of a handful of producers to have number one records
in three or more consecutive decades (1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s).
Others in this group include
Phil Spector (1950s, 1960s and 1970s),
Quincy Jones (1960s, 1970s and 1980s),
Michael Omartian (1970s, 1980s
and 1990s), and
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (1980s, 1990s, and 2000s).
SELECTED NON-BEATLES HIT RECORDS PRODUCED OR CO-PRODUCED BY GEORGE
Records produced by Martin have achieved 30 number one singles and 16
number one albums in the UK – plus 23 number one singles and 19
number one albums in North America (most of which were by The Beatles
). Main article:
The Beatles discography Main article: Paul
* "You\'re Driving Me Crazy ", The
Temperance Seven (25 May 1961,
* "My Kind of Girl",
Matt Monro (31 July 1961, #5)
* "My Boomerang Won\'t Come Back ",
Charlie Drake (5 October 1961,
Sun Arise ",
Rolf Harris (25 October 1962, #3)
* "Little Children ",
Billy J. Kramer
Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas (19 March
Bad to Me ",
Billy J. Kramer
Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas (22 August 1963,
Hello Little Girl ",
The Fourmost (30 August 1963, #9)
* "Don\'t Let the Sun Catch You Crying ",
Gerry & the Pacemakers (4
July 1964, #4)
* "You\'re My World ",
Cilla Black (1 August 1964, #1)
How Do You Do It? ",
Gerry & the Pacemakers (11 April 1963, #1)
* "Can\'t Buy Me Love ",
Ella Fitzgerald (1 May 1964, #34)
* "Walk Away",
Matt Monro (4 September 1964, #4)
* "I Like It ",
Gerry & the Pacemakers (7 November 1964, #1)
* "I\'ll Be There ",
Gerry & the Pacemakers (30 January 1965, #14)
Ferry Cross the Mersey ",
Gerry & the Pacemakers (20 March 1965,
* "Goldfinger ",
Shirley Bassey (27 March 1965, #8)
* "You\'ll Never Walk Alone ",
Gerry & the Pacemakers (3 July 1965,
Trains and Boats and Planes ",
Billy J. Kramer
Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas
(31 July 1965, #47)
* "Alfie ",
Cilla Black (10 September 1966,#UK6 #95)
* "Girl on a Swing",
Gerry & the Pacemakers (22 October 1966, #28)
* "Live and Let Die ",
Paul McCartney & Wings (1 June 1973, UK#9
* "Tin Man ", America (9 November 1974, #4)
Lonely People ", America (8 March 1975, #5)
Sister Golden Hair ", America (14 June 1975, #1)
Oh! Darling ",
Robin Gibb (7 October 1978, #15)
* "The Night Owls",
Little River Band
Little River Band (1981, US #6)
Ebony and Ivory ",
Paul McCartney &
Stevie Wonder (29 March 1982
Say, Say, Say ",
Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson (10 December
No More Lonely Nights ",
Paul McCartney (8 December 1984, #6)
Morning Desire ",
Kenny Rogers (10 July 1985, #1)
* "The Man I Love ",
Kate Bush "A Hole in the Ground" (1962);
"Gossip Calypso" (1962)
The Alberts – "Morse Code Melody" (1962)
Michael Bentine – "Football Results" (1962)
Terry Scott – "My Brother" (1963)
Joan Sims – "Oh Not Again Ken" (1963)
Shirley Bassey – "I (Who Have Nothing)" (1963)
David Frost and
Millicent Martin – That Was the Week That Was
* Cambridge Circus (Original Cast Recording) (1963)
Flanders and Swann –
At the Drop of Another Hat (1964)
Alma Cogan – "It's You" (1964)
The Scaffold – "2 Day's Monday" (1966)
Ron Goodwin – Adventure (1966)
Edwards Hand –
Edwards Hand (1969)
Stan Getz – Marrakesh Express (1969)
Ringo Starr – Sentimental Journey (1970)
* Seatrain – Seatrain (1970)
* The King\'s Singers – "
The King's Singers Collection" (1972)
Paul Winter Consort – Icarus (1972)
* The King\'s Singers – "A French Collection" (1973)
* The King\'s Singers – "Deck the Hall" (1973)
* John Williams – The Height Below (1973)
The Man in the Bowler Hat (1974, released as
Pinafore Days in the US and Canada)
Mahavishnu Orchestra – Apocalypse (1974)
* America – Holiday (1974)
Tommy Steele – My Life, My Song (1974)
Jeff Beck –
Blow by Blow (1975)
* America – Hearts (1975)
* America – Hideaway (1976)
* American Flyer – American Flyer (1976)
Jeff Beck – Wired (1976)
Cleo Laine – Born On a Friday (1976)
Jimmy Webb – El Mirage (1977)
* America – Harbor (1977)
Neil Sedaka – A Song (1977)
* Sgt. Pepper\'s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978, original soundtrack)
* America – Silent Letter (1979)
Gary Brooker – No More Fear of Flying (1979)
Cheap Trick – All Shook Up (1980)
* UFO – No Place to Run (1980)
Little River Band
Little River Band – Time Exposure (1981)
Ultravox – Quartet (1982)
Paul McCartney – Tug of War (1982)
Paul McCartney –
Pipes of Peace (1983)
Paul McCartney –
Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)
Andy Leek – Say Something (1988)
* Yoshiki –
Eternal Melody (1993)
* Tommy (Original Cast Recording) (1993)
Celine Dion – "The Reason " (1997)
George Martin –
In My Life (1998)
The Beatles – Love (2006)
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old 8-track desk for The Anthology project.
* ^ "
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to GEORGE MARTIN .
George Martin – Management biography
* "George Martin".
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame .